Celebrating Margaret Ng
I used to think flowers were stupid. What was the point of them if they just died a few days later?
Even in the last weeks of her life, my Mom was teaching me how to live fully. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer five years prior. When the doctors told us the chemotherapy was no longer effective and that she only had weeks left with us, I didn’t believe them. But as someone who had worked as a unit clerk in hospice, Mom was prepared for the next step.
Despite each uncomfortable needle or new pain, Mom spent every last day hell-bent on enjoying our time together as a family. On good days, we would eat at our favourite restaurants and revisit beloved parks. On bad days, we would look at old photos in bed and listen to our favourite CD’s. We talked about everything – her childhood, her dreams as a young woman, and her hopes for us as a wife and mother. Most importantly, we counted our blessings and enjoyed our time together.
Only Mom could inspire me to start a project when everything felt like it was ending. Days after she entered hospice, I began drawing all of our favourite places – our family restaurant, the coffee shop down the street or the soccer field behind our house. I manically drew anything that would remind her of a happy time. When there was nothing left to do for her, I learned to just be there with her and enjoy our time together. It’s something I wish I had done with more intention earlier in life.
In the two years since Mom left us I’ve become more appreciative of life’s little joys, like flowers. I’ve continued drawing our favourite places and found my happiest memories are housed in seemingly mundane activities. They’re in the lazy trails we would hike together on Sunday afternoons, the restaurants we would rush to eat at before work and the church steps we’d sit on to talk about our dreams.
As the seasons change, I’m reminded how quickly life comes and goes. The hardest lesson Mom taught me was that flowers are more beautiful because they don’t stay with us forever, the same way people do. It’s easy to get caught up chasing the next big thing in life, but don’t forget to enjoy the time you have with the people you love today.
From Margaret’s daughter Sharon Lam
View Sharon’s ongoing art project that was inspired by her Mom www.artbysharonlam.com